When I grow up I want to be young

The grass isn’t the only thing that’s always greener on the other side. It’s true with age stuff too. How many times do you hear a preschooler ask for a nap? Probably about as often as a preschooler turns down candy. Yet if I had time to nap every day, I would carry a nap mat around like it were my purse so that any time I had 10 or 20 minutes of pause, I could close my eyes & catch a snooze.

Another case in point is demeanor. When we’re in middle school and high school, the more quiet, pouty and mysterious you act, the cooler you are. Whereas, at 37, I tend to favor the opposite kinds of people. Basically, the more transparent, ‘real’, and positive you are, the more I gravitate toward you. At this point in life, I’ve had more mystery than I can solve, and while experience has taught me loads of valuable lessons, I choose to learn from life rather than from people trying to manipulate me.

So many of my friends in high school had fake IDs so that they could get into clubs, buy smokes, or just pose as ‘older and cooler’ in general…because to be older WAS to be cooler. Now, not so much. If I get carded for beer, I am elated. I talk about it for weeks on end, and go back to the same cashier numerous times just to see if she ever catches on to my little fantasy.

Being classified as a ‘nerd’ when I was in high school was just about as low as one could fall in the social cliche hierarchy culture of my generation. The movie Can’t Buy Me Love wasn’t very far from reality. Nerds were happy, yes. But happy was bad. Hence the whole ‘mystery’ thing (see above).  If we had only looked into the future and seen that ‘nerds’ would end up ‘ruling the world’ just as our parents had predicted!

Which brings me to one of the biggest wrinkles are greener comparisons…(what?); parents. Will Smith of ‘Fresh Prince’ told us that Parents Just Don’t Understand. The Beastie Boys taught us that parents were nothing more than party poopers. What they didn’t tell us was that our parents were the smartest people on the planet, and these people should be revered, respected, admired, and above everything else  LISTENED TO!!! I for one, especially recognized this after becoming a mom myself. She told me to nap when my baby napped. Check! She said ‘the more calm you remain during your child’s fits, the quicker he will calm down’. Check! She said so many things that were spot on, and that’s because she had already been there, done that. I mean, my mom also said ‘eat your veggies’, to which I turned up my nose and acted as if I were gagging. Veggies weren’t cool. Chocolate was cool.

At 37, veggies are indeed cool. The more healthy we eat, the more purely we nourish our bodies, the cooler we are. It’s amazing, and it’s just like our parents predicted. Or did they? Weren’t they really just giving us the gift of their own experience?

The thing about experience is that it absolutely cannot be borrowed, shared, or re-gifted – not effectively anyway. If we do not experience the pain or emotion involved in the ‘learning’, the lesson is just…well, a textbook – which is the same as saying that we get our definitions from a dictionary, when it’s really Wikipedia. Or saying that  we need to search the phone book, when really Google already knows everything with just the click of a button.

So we should think of our parents as Google, and think of age as a search engine. The older we grow the uglier we become. At least most of us do. With wrinkles in the skin comes also facets in the brain; experiences that become knowledge; lessons that become wisdom – until we become our parents.

The grass is not only greener on the older side, it also has more weeds, which also means more possiblities of finding a four leaf clover. Take it for what it is. Take it for what it is not. Growth is as green as we need it to be. Age is simply power; plain, simple, and infinite.




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